Family-friendly days out: part five
Welcome to the fifth in our series of articles on family-friendly days out. For the fifth installment of this series we headed to the Sea Life London Aquarium. This is located on the Southbank next to the new attraction “Shrek’s Adventure” and close to The London Eye and London Dungeons. My day was made by seeing this amazing creature!
Book your tickets in advance as you can make savings of the cost of tickets that way. If you are planning on visiting the other attractions on the Southbank then look at getting a combo ticket, as this will also save you money on tickets. Waterloo Station is the closest and most straightforward to access Sea Life from. The attraction is an easy five minute walk from Waterloo Station.
Make sure you arrive at the attraction for your allocated time. You will not be able to enter before that time. Sea Life has three time blocks, which are all quite big windows of time and therefore should not cause you too many issues. For example, our time slot was 11am-4pm, giving us a large window and time to do other things. This is helpful with children and also if you are travelling quite a distance.
What to expect
- There are a couple of different queues depending on which tickets you have or your type of booking, so make sure you are in the correct queue to begin with.
- Your deep sea adventure begins with a walk across a glass floor, with full view of the sea creatures below – this is wonderful, it’s a shame this is such a small section of walkway
- You are free to wander around Sea Life at your own leisure and pace, there is no rush, so take your time and make sure you see everything you want to
- There is a general flow of ‘traffic’ around the attraction but if you do miss something it is possible to double back and see it – this is helpful if you have a little one who falls asleep early on
- Although there is not loads of space, especially in the tunnel, the attraction is pushchair-friendly
- There are talks and feeding demonstrations so keep your eyes out for timings
- You will not be allowed to use flash photography inside the attraction – this is because the sea creatures do not have eyelids and cannot protect their eyes.
- There are toilets and baby changing facilities inside the attraction
- There are vending machines with drinks and snacks inside the attraction
- There are opportunities to touch some of the creatures – after touching the starfish one of our children described it as “like touching bubble wrap” – there are of course hand-washing facilities to use after this
- There will be the usual photo opportunities during the attraction, as with many attractions these days
What they have spot on:
- The start of the adventure, walking across the glass floor is amazing and very exciting
- The staff are knowledgeable
- Toilets and baby change available
- Vending machines available for emergency snacks for tired sight-seeing troops
- A fun family attraction
- Opportunities to learn about a range of creatures
- Opportunities to watch feeding
- Opportunities to touch some of the creatures
- You can walk around at your own pace
- Very clean
- A good variety of creatures to see and things to do
- There is currently a LEGO collaboration so there was LEGO to play with and build near the end
- Good for visitors of a range of ages
- Largely pushchair-friendly
What they need to work on:
- The attraction is quite pricey but you are not timed when inside so this does make it seem more reasonable than other attractions
- The queuing system for tickets was not ideal as you had to double back on yourself and push passed others waiting to get out
- More opportunities to touch and learn about the creatures would be great as the children got a lot out of this
- The viewing of the creatures is not ideal for little ones in pushchairs or walking – more floor to ceiling viewing is needed to make this something that can fully appeal to all the family
- The photo packages are very expensive at £25 and did not seem that good
- You have to walk through the gift shop to get out of the attraction which is a pet hate of mine – I just think this is really unfair on parents and children. This is very common however and not unique to this attraction, just frustrating that another attraction has gone down these lines.
We give Sea Life London a Mummy Fever rating of 3.5/5 .